Business name: Valois Home Improvements
Address: based in Shrewsbury
Owner: Raymond Valois
Contact Information: 508-845-1107
There are two main reasons why Raymond Valois is not your average home improvement specialist. First, he’s an expert finish carpenter. Second, with an MFA in photography, he brings aesthetic expertise to every project.
Whether installing a kitchen, replacing windows, finishing a basement, updating a bathroom, or making changes for those aging-in-place, Valois brings quality and care to every project, and respect for every property.
He said, “I consider someone’s home to be their personal castle. It’s my job to keep my customers informed, and ensure they are happy.
“I’m detail oriented and I really enjoy being creative and doing finish carpentry work; building custom mantels and built-ins.”
Both demand for his work, and repeat customers are a testament to the quality of his work. Valois is generally booked about two to three months in advance.
Valois grew up in Millbury, and attended Blackstone Valley Technical High School in Upton. He has given back by mentoring student interns from his alma mater.
After high school, he attended Quinsigamond Community College, and eventually worked his way to the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied photography.
For 10 years, Valois worked as a still life photographer in Boston. Most of his clients were advertising agencies.
When the economy changed in 2000, Valois left photography and starting apprenticing with a local remodeler. He always had a knack for working with tools, following in the footsteps of his father and uncles who built his grandmother’s house.
Valois put together a flyer, and got hired for some small jobs.
“The next thing I knew [business] was booming,” he said.
He has worked to enhance his expertise and knowledge by taking seminars and through books.
Overtime, the scope and complexity of his jobs increased.
Valois holds a construction supervisor license, which means he can work on residential and commercial jobs up to 34,000 cubic feet. He will act as a general contractor, bringing in plasterers, electricians, plumbers, and sometimes painters to complete more involved jobs.
A focus on residential jobs
Commenting on the popular HGTV home improvement and “flipping” shows, Valois said, “It’s a lot more expensive to live and work here than in the areas where those shows are filmed. The numbers that they throw around are not realistic for here.”
He recommends that customers read “Remodeling Magazine” for the best information on cost versus value.
“They provide a good guideline of how much you can re-coop,” he said. “Kitchens have a good return but decks made out of the fancy new materials may not.”
Valois charges for estimates on complicated jobs, where the homeowner is looking for design input. He works with kitchen and bathroom designers from Koopman Lumber, which carries off-the-shelf, semi-custom and custom cabinets.
These days, Valois commented, “Gray is the new beige for walls. White Shaker cabinets are popular. And granite is still the go-to-counter. People need to remember that granite should be resealed once a year. It’s not antimicrobial.”
Valois is careful to steer his customers away from trendy choices.
“Metallic tile highlights are not a good idea,” he said.
In bathrooms, Valois is seeing a lot of walk-in showers. Some homeowners are fine with having no bathtubs.
Valois summed up his work by saying, “At the end of the day, I can look at what I did and be proud. That means a lot more to me than shuffling papers. I truly care about my finished products, and making my customers happy.”
If you have a home improvement project in mind, Valois would be happy to discuss options with you.